Measuring Quality in Online Text

As the social web grows and people become increasingly socially aware, news sites are becoming ever larger discussion communities where users can address and comment on common issues spurred by the news articles. One of the key features promoting the success of these online communities, is the large-scale user-engagement seen in the forms of rating, [...]

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Starting a Business at Stellenbosch University

At the last LaunchLab talk, Abey Mokgwatsane, the CEO of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, expressed a truth that I think most of us are aware of: the only way South Africa will achieve the economic growth it needs to reduce unemployment is through the effort of entrepreneurs. As an economists, I lean heavily towards what we [...]

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Cryptocurrencies as public shareholding

In a recent blog post, Medialabber and Bitcoin evangelist Simon de la Rouviere raises the idea of “personal cryptocurrencies” – the notion that, since the exchange rate of a currency is a free-market estimate of the value (and future value) of the currency, cryptocurrencies can be used as a proxy for trading on individuals’ societal [...]

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Natural Language Programming

Much exploration has been done recently to find an alternative way of programming besides traditional programming languages. With the current app boom, an alternative programming method can be useful for those wanting to write a mobile app, but not willing to learn a programming language. A common approach is programming using a visual interface. Pure [...]

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A bit of CUDA

So, over the last couple of months I’ve been doing a Udacity course based on parallel programming using CUDA (and thus Nvidia GPUs). This course introduced me to the basics of CUDA and how to come up with parallel solutions to everyday problems, usually solved with sequential algorithms. Why do this course? Well, since it [...]

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I was going to talk about Bitcoin…

If there is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, is Bitcoin. But I’ve talked about it a lot (on my own blog, giving talks, and annoying friends over beers). I can’t help it. What makes it worse, is that in the media lab, there’s this buzz about Bitcoin every single day. Over [...]

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How to implement a voting system using Bitcoin

The sentence “Bitcoin is to money as to what internet is to communication” frequents forums, discussions and bitcoin websites. Although I believe this wholeheartedly, the truth is that we can only make educated guesses at how this is going to happen, if this is going to happen at all. One obvious case, and the case [...]

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graph theory basics

whilst doing my masters (which focussed on graphical models), i used to joke that i was researching the areas i loved most (graph theory), and hated most (statistics). since then my focus has changed somewhat (and i don’t hate statistics anymore), but graph theory remains fun to play with. (very) basics of graph theory simply [...]

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On the Edge

In ecology, ‘edge effect’ is an increased level of biodiversity that is observed where ecosystems meet. The slight overlap means that species from both biomes can be found there, as well as species that are specifically suited to that ecotone, or area of overlap. Think of coral reefs, for instance. These diverse ecotones are obviously [...]

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How low does your Game Tree go?

The history of designing computer players for board games goes back to the 1970′s when a series of chess playing programs were created to play in real tournaments. The best known of these players is IBM’s Deep Blue that defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997. The most notable computer chess players were all [...]

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